Home

My best winter news:  I won best in Wildlife in Friends of the Gorge annual photo contest for the above photo!

It was the first time I entered and I also took away an honorable mention for my adorable Pika!!

AND an honorable mention for my smoky sunset!  My prize for ‘First’ in Wildlife was a gift certificate to Pro Photo and a fabulous new Columbia backpack!

Feet back on the ground, on the first day of Winter I hiked out my back door to see who I might find.  Nuthatches!  White-breasted and…

…Red-breasted Nuthatch.

After that first sunny day of winter, we had a bit of snow.  I stayed close to home & watched Chickadees in my garden.

New Year’s Eve I went with a couple of young birders to High Prairie where they showed me a Great Horned Owl.

The younger birder has a great eye and spotted a Rough-legged Hawk in the distance and we were thrilled at how close it flew to us while hunting.

Alas my fellow birders couldn’t stay long, but I wasn’t ready to leave.  Lucky me I watched a Northern Harrier with lunch!

My winter raptor survey is in full swing and I loved finding this pair of Bald Eagles near sunset.

A few days later I drove along the Columbia just because the sun came out!  Saw eagles chasing eagles….


 A beautiful Great Blue Heron flew past.

And I passed a gorgeous Kestrel sunning at the top of a snag.

Back at the Bingen Marina I checked on our Tundra Swans.  Yep, still there.  They arrive and depart about the same time as migrating Bald Eagles.

I believe this is a Horned Grebe soaking up the sun, but I always mix it up with an Eared Grebe.

I took a couple of friends from Portland out hunting for Bald Eagles here in the Gorge and lucky us, we found some.

We watched a few juvenile eagles with an adult bathing in the Columbia, hiked into Balfour Park, then headed further east.

We found this beauty near The Dalles Dam where I was heading the very next week for Eagle Festival.

Eagle Festival at The Dalles Dam occurs every January when the Bald Eagle population is at its fullest.

I arrived super early hoping for a sunrise shot, but alas it was a gray morning.  However, because of my early arrival I had a pretty nice spot for watching eagles fish.

I ran into many of my birding friends there, especially after the sun came out!

California sea lions also came to the party at The Dalles Dam!

It was truly a glorious day.

I like taking long scenic drives to see what I can find.  This abandoned house had a young bald eagle perched at the top of a craggy old tree next to it.

The Klickitat River runs through many little towns in our area.

You can get down right next to it or view it from a great height.

This time of year it might be snowing or the clouds below so thick that the river is hidden.

You can almost always find a Bald Eagle near the Klickitat River.

That about sums it up, I think we’re caught up now.  Well except …

We put in a trail cam and now know what eats our bird seed every night!

Oh, and my really big winter news is I’m going to NORWAY where my paternal ancestors came from!!  I didn’t know I wanted to go until invited by a loved one.  I’m working overtime selling my remaining art glass to fund this surprise trip.  More about that in an upcoming post!

Advertisements

Autumn sunrise on Burdoin Mountain. Easier to get up for fall & winter sunrise!

Pears ripen during autumn in the Columbia River Gorge and attract all sorts of critters, including a Downy Woodpecker.

Woodpeckers seem to come out in the open like this pair of  Northern Flickers in the Soda Springs area.

Maybe we can see them easier with less foliage.  An Acorn Woodpecker sits on a snag in the Klickitat Wildlife area.

I also spotted a Coyote while in the Klickitat Wildlife area!

I love being on the Klickitat River this time of year.

We headed to the Bend area where my husband’s buddy from high school showed us where they fished together on the Crooked River.

While in that the Bend area I found a River Otter lunching on the Deschutes River.

And a sweet little Ruby-crowned Kinglet munching on flies in a spider web at Cline Falls State Park.

A trio of cygnets (one thinks he is hiding underwater) at Sun River Nature Center.  Sadly their father, Chuck was illegally shot and killed not long after my visit.  There is a substantial reward, if you have any info contact the Oregon State Police.

Ridgefield NWR is one of my favorite stops, and you can usually find a Great Blue Heron at the first pond (and around every corner). 

Mt. Adams reflecting in a pond at Conboy Lake NWR, my ‘backyard refuge’.

Lucky me, while at Conboy Lake NWR I caught a rainbow over the little town of Glenwood!

An old friend traveled through from Alaska, seeking the sun. We went to some of my favorite waterfalls.  Lower Lewis River Falls…

….and Curly Creek Falls among them.

That night we had an Aurora prediction, so yep, I stayed up for this ‘Tiny Aurora Borealis’ behind Mt. Adams.

Speaking of tiny, I found a little Golden-crowned Kinglet in my backyard.

Another friend (& fellow photographer) & I went hiking along the Lewis River to Upper Lewis River Falls.

I can’t believe in November I still had Hummingbirds dipping into my feeders!

Thanks to a friend’s invitation, we headed back to Bend to watch the mule deer Rut.  I have way too many photos to share, so this favorite one will have to suffice.

My raptor surveys started back up for East Cascades Audubon Winter Raptor Survey.  I truly love participating.

Our Tundra Swans return to Bingen Pond….

As do the American Wigeon….

…and the Pied-billed Grebes.

Bald Eagles begin migrating to the Columbia River Gorge each year around Thanksgiving.

Steller’s Jays take over my feeders.  Chickadees, Juncos and Nuthatches have to elbow their way in.

A chipmunk visits my garden for the first time this fall!  At least the first that showed himself to me in over 30 years!

The next day he found a feeder!  Isn’t he CUTE???

I was lucky to catch a Bald Eagle flying fast over the Little White Salmon River.

A friend intrigued me with a rare bird, so I had to go check it out!  Yellow-bellied Sapsucker at Commonwealth Lake near Portland.

While there, a Sharp-shinned Hawk landed in a nearby tree with lunch!

My last hike of the season, Falls Creek Falls.  It’s now closed until April 1st.

Our Bald Eagle population continues to increase in the Columbia River Gorge.  Trio of juveniles fighting over food.

During a visit to Ridgefield NWR, I found a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk looking down at me….

…and a Red-shouldered Hawk calling….yes, he MUST have called me over to him!!

Back at Conboy Lake NWR I caught a Northern Shrike hovering.  At first I thought he was a Kestrel because I hadn’t seen a shrike hover like this before.

While there I also found a White-breasted Nuthatch, another favorite.

I’ll leave you with this Columbia River Gorge sunset from the Spring Creek Fish Hatchery entrance.

If not tomorrow, then soon … I’ll fill you in on my wonderful Winter.

She’s BACK!

January 24, 2018

I think I exhausted myself photo-documenting all those raptor nests in my last posts!  I enjoyed many adventures afterwards and took a lot of pictures but didn’t get around to posting….or sitting at my computer for much time the rest of 2017!!

Here’s a quick recap to catch up!

I led a bird walk at Conboy Lake NWR for Julee at Mt Adams Lodge in July.

Had family come to the Northwest for a visit and we hiked many of my favorite places….

…We picked cherries….

…and played with art projects.

I enjoyed hummingbirds in my garden…..

… and of course my garden flowers…

…as well as butterflies….

Enjoyed my 98% of the eclipse with old friends at their vineyard here on Burdoin Mountain!

I conducted my annual Pika surveys for Cascades Pika Watch.

…and even found juveniles this year!  I’ve said it before, the cutest little mammals on the planet!

Hired to shoot for Sail the Gorge Magazine, I spent a lot of time on the Columbia River!

Hiked around Mt Adams, enjoying lakes and waterfalls.

Love high places, but sadly this day another wildfire began, you can see smoke drifting over Mt. St. Helens.

Headed south to visit family and took them sailing with dolphins!

Found some interesting new birds like this Warbling Vireo near Horsethief State Park.

And interesting butterflies like a MONARCH also near Horsethief!

Sadly, the last of our summer days were clouded by the horrific Eagle Creek fire.  Started by a teen with fireworks in a steep dry canyon.  The Oregon hiking trails in the Columbia River Gorge are still closed and many will not reopen for several years.  I worry about the wildlife, especially our little Pika who lost their source of food.  Not even our expert scientists are allowed in yet to check on them.

That’s just summer!  I’ll be back tomorrow to share ‘how I spent Autumn’ with you!!

Birds on the Hook

January 16, 2017

steider-studios-bird-walk-1-15-17-3

It is STILL snowing in the frozen Columbia River Gorge, a good month after it started.  As I post pictures that look black & white you can see snow falling in many of them.  I finally have a system to stay warm when I leave the house in 7º temperatures, without investing in ski-wear:  heavy leggings under my thick hiking pants with rain-pants over; 3 tops plus wool sweater and coat; wool socks over regular socks plus toe warmers slipped into fur-lined boots; a heavy scarf covering my head, neck and ears with 2 hats over that; and finally glove liners inside my gloves with hand warmers between and mittens over.

steider-studios-bird-walk-1-15-17-7

Yesterday at ‘The Hook’ a group of friends met for coffee then a bit of bird-watching…or finding….or simply enjoying.

steider-studios-bird-walk-1-15-17-16It was frozen, quiet and snowing and most of the birds we saw looked like they were doing their best to stay warm.

steider-studios-bird-walk-1-15-17-8

The first bird we saw after a couple of Bald Eagles was a Great Blue Heron.  Doesn’t he look cold?

steider-studios-bird-walk-1-15-17

Shortly after seeing us he took off upriver to the next frozen rock outcrop.

steider-studios-bird-walk-1-15-17-5

We saw Greater and Lesser Scaup resting offshore.

steider-studios-bird-walk-1-15-17-2

A Bufflehead flew close to the river…

steider-studios-bird-walk-1-15-17-6

…and unknown (to me) ducks flew high overhead.

steider-studios-lesser-scaup-1-15-17-10

Lesser Scaup drake…

steider-studios-greater-scaup-1-15-17-23

…and another Lesser Scaup drake.

steider-studios-greater-scaup-female-1-15-17-24

Greater Scaup female.

steider-studios-bird-walk-1-15-17-12

Snowfall diffused sound but we heard a train heading toward us.  Looking west between shoreline and Wells Island we used scopes to see waterfowl including Gadwall, Canvasback, Coot, Grebes, and Canada Goose.

steider-studios-bird-walk-1-15-17-13

Mallards swam near the shoreline on the west side of The Hook.

steider-studios-bird-walk-1-15-17-17

A Bald Eagle perched near the nest on the north side of Wells Island with a snowy Underwood Mountain in the background.

steider-studios-bird-walk-1-15-17-14

A Common Merganser female appeared from around the corner…

steider-studios-bird-walk-1-15-17-15

…and took off as soon as she realized I was there!

steider-studios-bird-walk-1-15-17-19

Looking across to Wells Island we saw a swarm of blackbirds and robins foraging on the shoreline.

steider-studios-bird-walk-1-15-17-11

This is the south side of Wells Island, looking west down the gorge.

steider-studios-bird-walk-1-15-17-22

A Killdeer hopped along the shore as I stood looking at Wells Island.  Did I mention it was snowing?

steider-studios-bird-walk-1-15-17-26

A Horned Grebe fished in the distance.  Notice the ice chunks?  By now it was about 14º.

steider-studios-waterfowl-on-columbia-r-1-15-17-5

We headed back to our cars but watched the river as we walked and spotted a female Redhead!

steider-studios-bird-walk-1-15-17-18

Thankfully my friends are expert birders and discussed details that identified her species for me.

steider-studios-bird-walk-1-15-17-21

We continued watching ducks arrive as we slowly headed back to where we parked.

steider-studios-bird-walk-1-15-17-20

Last shot of the day ….a female Greater Scaup taking off down the river.

steider-studios-mt-adams-1-4-17-6

On Friday I took a little trip up to Trout Lake, at the base of Mt Adams to photograph a bird.

steider-studios-gray-headed-junco-1-6-17-8

A RARE bird in Washington State.  I’m told this is only the second documented sighting in my state. EVER!

steider-studios-gray-headed-junco-1-6-17-2

It’s a Gray-headed Junco hanging out at Jim & Kathy White’s feeders!  Kathy first noticed it on Jan 2 at their feeders with a flock of Dark-eyed Juncos.  It has come back each day, all week.

steider-studios-gray-headed-junco-1-6-17-3

You know I had to invite myself to go up and see it!  Even if it didn’t show up for me, I HAD to take the chance, drive our snowy roads and maintain hope that it would grace me with its presence.

steider-studios-gray-headed-junco-1-6-17-4

Local birding expert, Stuart Johnston went with me and to our delight the unusual bird showed up for us!!

steider-studios-gray-headed-junco-1-6-17-5

As I well knew, my first shot through the window was not crispy clear.  I was going to have to photograph it outside if I wanted a decent shot.  I quietly exited the back door and peered around the corner, waiting and hoping this special bird would allow me to photograph him.

steider-studios-gray-headed-junco-1-6-17-6

He did not disappoint.  Even with triple layers of clothing, double gloves, plus coat, hat, scarf, hand and toe warmers I could only stay outside for 10 to 15 minute intervals in the 10º temperature.

steider-studios-gray-headed-junco-1-6-17-7

Confirmed via email and photographic documentation ahead of my visit, from several top-level birding experts in Washington and Oregon the sighting still goes through a process within Washington Ornithological Society for it to be a valid sighting..

steider-studios-gray-headed-junco-1-6-17

Jim and Kathy have turned in a ‘Rare Bird Report’ to the Washington Ornithological Society and I’m proud to say they’re using my photos in addition to their own for documentation.

steider-studios-dark-eyed-oregon-junco-1-6-17

This is a Dark-eyed ‘Oregon’ Junco, the typical Junco we have in our area.  You can see how different they are from the Gray-headed.

~My first sighting of a Catbird last summer, Bohemian Waxwings in December, and now my first sighting of the Gray-headed Junco, Trout Lake is turning into BIRD Central!!~

steider-studios-cbc-12-31-16-copy

I celebrated the last day of 2016 by participating in the Columbia Hills Christmas Bird Count.  There were four of us in Jane’s car, all focused on finding birds in and around Goldendale Washington on a brilliant-blue-sky but frigid day.

steider-studios-ducks-geese-12-31-16

After counting all the birds surrounding the wastewater treatment plant ~ thousands (!!!),

steider-studios-northern-shrike-12-31-16

…including a Northern Shrike who was very far away, we headed into residential Goldendale.

steider-studios-red-tailed-hawk-12-31-16

We traversed block after city block with a stop at Ekone Park.  A pair of Red-tailed Hawks perched as sentries on tree tops at both sides of the entrance.

steider-studios-ruby-crowned-kinglet-12-31-16

We hiked along the stream from the parking lot to the bridge and although there wasn’t a lot of activity, we found a Ruby-crowned Kinglet!

steider-studios-cbc-12-31-16-2

A Golden-crowned Sparrow was foraging on a lawn above the bridge.

steider-studios-cbc-12-31-16-3

A Scrub Jay flew overhead, taking his treasure to possibly eat in a warmer spot.

steider-studios-cbc-12-31-16-4

We found plenty of trees and shrubs full of the regular suspects, in this case House Sparrows with some finches tucked in between.

steider-studios-cbc-12-31-16-5

We found a group of mixed Cedar and Bohemian Waxwings (yay!).

steider-studios-bohemian-waxwing-12-31-16

Bohemians have a buffy body, white tips on their wing feathers and little or no white on their forehead.

steider-studios-cbc-12-31-16

We met up with a second carload of counters who had finished  their section and wanted to see more Goldendale birds.

steider-studios-cbc-12-31-16-6

We spotted a few Red-tailed Hawks as we continued our drive through town and along the outskirts.

steider-studios-snipe-pair-12-31-16

In one neighborhood we found three Wilson’s Snipes foraging in a tiny stream!  How do I know they were Wilson’s, not Common?  Because lucky me I had experts on my team!

steider-studios-snipe-12-31-16

In this one tiny area we also saw a dozen Robins, and a couple of Scrub Jays, Chickadees, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Dark-eyed Juncos, White-crowned Sparrows…..

steider-studios-spotted-towhee-12-31-16

……Spotted Towhees, House Finches and about a dozen Golden-crowned Sparrows.

steider-studios-cbcpm-12-31-16-2

Over two dozen California Quail ran or flew to the other side of the street while we watched all the action in, over and surrounding the stream.

steider-studios-cbcpm-12-31-16-4

Finished with our assigned section, we decided to head out Bickleton Hwy in search of anything interesting outside of town.  Yes!  A Rough-legged Hawk awaited us.

steider-studios-cbcpm-12-31-16-5

Isn’t he beautiful?!  I believe this is my first sighting of a Rough-legged and I’ve fallen in love.

steider-studios-cbcpm-12-31-16-6

We followed him in flight over barns and farmhouses as we continued our drive.

steider-studios-cbcpm-12-31-16-7

Another raptor delighted us with his presence, a Northern Harrier.

steider-studios-cbcpm-12-31-16-8

A big surprise was a group of seven Gray Partridges.  It’s uncommon to find them on agricultural land.

steider-studios-cbcpm-12-31-16-9

Our last sighting for the day was a group of Bald Eagles circling overhead on our way back to town.

steider-studios-cbcpm-12-31-16-10

I saw two adults and 2 or 3 juveniles (I knew I should have written this immediately as my recollection fades).

steider-studios-cbcpm-12-31-16-11

One juvenile soared closer…

steider-studios-cbcpm-12-31-16-12

…and landed in the top of a nearby Pine tree.

steider-studios-cbcpm-12-31-16-13

He then took off as another eagle flew close to his landing spot.

steider-studios-cbcpm-12-31-16-14

All in all a very good day spent with great company!

 

 

 

Christmas Bird Count ~ 2016

December 23, 2016

steider-studios-bohemian-waxwings-td-cbc-12-18-16-5

I participated in the Lyle Christmas Bird Count on Sunday, a snowy gray cold day.  It was near 20º when we started at 7:25 and the same when we ended at 16:45 with 6 – 12″ of snow on the ground where we hiked.

steider-studios-7-juvenile-bald-eagle-12-18-16

In addition to birds, we found a gorgeous BOBCAT and a Western Gray Squirrel!  I wasn’t fast enough with my camera for either.

steider-studios-1-bald-eagle-12-18-16

The only raptors we saw were 9 Bald Eagles and 9 Red-tailed Hawks.

steider-studios-1-scaup-12-18-16

We saw lots of waterfowl: 100 Lesser Scaup, 1 Common Goldeneye, 2 Barrow’s Goldeneye…

steider-studios-2-green-winged-teal-12-18-16

…6 Green-winged Teal, 12 Northern Shovelers, 16 Ring-necked Ducks,

steider-studios-4-bufflehead-12-18-16

19 Bufflehead, 6 Northern Pintails, 6 Double-crested Cormorants,

steider-studios-5-merganser-12-18-16

2 Hooded Mergansers, 2 Pied-billed Grebes, 4 Horned Grebes, 59 Western Grebes,

steider-studios-10-raft-of-ducks-12-18-16

90 Gadwall, 170 American Wigeon, 38 Mallards, 133 Canada Geese and 958 American Coots!

steider-studios-6-killdeer-12-18-16

We saw 4 Killdeer, 6 American Pipits,

steider-studios-3-gull-in-flight-12-18-16

1 Glaucous-winged Gull, 2 Belted Kingfishers,

steider-studios-12-collared-dove-12-18-16

5 Collared Doves, 6 Rock Pigeons, 3 Mourning Doves, 2 Anna’s Hummingbirds,

steider-studios-15-junco-12-18-16

278 Dark-eyed Juncos, 9 Black-capped Chickadees, 3 White Breasted Nuthatches,

steider-studios-11-ca-quail-12-18-16

14 California Quail, 8 Lewis’s Woodpeckers, 4 Downy Woodpeckers, 21 Northern Flickers,

steider-studios-8-ruby-crowned-kinglet-12-18-16

3 Ruby-crowned Kinglets, 15 Golden-crowned Kinglets,  1 Hermit Thrush, 16 Varied Thrush,

steider-studios-13-yellow-rumped-warbler-12-18-16

21 Yellow-rumped Warblers, 78 European Starlings, 43 American Robins, 12 Song Sparrows,

steider-studios-9-spotted-towhee-12-18-16

13 Spotted Towhees, 7 Steller’s Jay, 47 Scrub Jays, 2 Crows, 14 Ravens,

steider-studios-14-white-crowned-sparrow-12-18-16

2 White-crowned Sparrows, 44 Golden-crowned Sparrows, 19 House Finches, 133 House Sparrows,

steider-studios-16-cowbird-blackbird-sparrow-at-feeder-12-18-16

62 Red-winged Blackbirds, 4 Brewer’s Blackbirds, and 18 Bohemian Waxwings!

steider-studios-bohemian-waxwings-td-cbc-12-18-16-3

The last and best of the day were the Bohemian waxwings we found…

steider-studios-bohemian-waxwings-td-cbc-12-18-16-4

…dining on crabapples.

steider-studios-bohemian-waxwings-td-cbc-12-18-16-6

The rest of the flock was perched in a neighboring birch tree, high in the branches.

steider-studios-bohemian-waxwings-td-cbc-12-18-16-7

I am thrilled that I captured better photos of these beautiful birds after seeing them in Trout Lake a couple of weeks ago!  A long but fun day with great people!!

%d bloggers like this: